Tue, Jun 04, 2019 - Page 1 News List

China should ‘repent’ Tiananmen: MAC

DIVERGENCE:Taiwan took the path of democracy and freedom after the Kaohsiung Incident, but rights have been constrained in China since Tiananmen, Tsai Ing-wen said

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

President Tsai Ing-wen, right, talks with Chinese dissident and writer Wilson Chen at the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday urged Beijing to correct its “historical mistake” of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the massacre, which began overnight on June 3, 1989, and continued through June 4 to brutally crush tens of thousands of students, workers and others who had been protesting in and around the square, calling for democracy, free speech and a free press.

For 30 years, the Chinese government has lacked the courage to reflect on the historical significance of the June Fourth Incident, choosing instead to “block information, distort the truth and attempt to cover up its mistakes and the events of 1989,” the council said in a statement.

China should face its historical mistakes, apologize and correct the incident so that the victims of the incident may “rest in peace,” it said.

Taiwan would continue to “lead the way” for the democratization of China, and support China’s move to democracy “in all manner of ways,” it said.

Hopefully, people in Taiwan and abroad would not forget the history and spirit of June 4, the council said, adding that “one day, the dawn of democracy will eventually come.”

The council also called on China to immediately release Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲), who is serving a five-year prison sentence in Hunan Province for “subversion of state power.”

Reflecting on Tiananmen, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that it was a shame that although China’s economic development has improved over the past few years, human rights there are still limited.

Speaking to a group of overseas democracy activists at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Tsai drew comparisons between today’s 30th anniversary of the massacre and the 40th anniversary of the Kaohsiung Incident, saying the two events were of crucial historic significance.

The Kaohsiung Incident was a crackdown by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authoritarian government on a demonstration organized by Formosa Magazine and its publisher — Legislator Huang Shin-chieh (黃信介) — and other pro-democracy advocates on Dec. 10, 1979, in Kaohsiung.

Taiwan’s democratization was fraught with difficulty, she said as she pointed to a photograph of Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊) when she was on trial in a military court for her role in the Kaohsiung Incident.

The direction and pace of development in Taiwan and China diverged after their respective incidents, with Taiwan firmly taking the path of democracy and freedom, while human rights and freedom have been severely constrained in China, Tsai said.

Taiwan will defend the values of democracy, and cares about the development of democracy and human rights in China, which are universal values that she hopes China would pursue, she said.

Additional reporting by Su Yung-yao, CNA and Reuters

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